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200 SA jobs promised in online home loan venture

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The State Government says 200 jobs will be created in South Australia's financial sector, in a deal announced today that it says undermines the big banks' criticism of the state's investment appeal.

The Government has used its Investment Attraction Agency’s funds to entice a fintech company, Tic: Toc, backed by Bendigo Adelaide Bank, to create new jobs and relocate staff to Adelaide to support what the company claims is the world’s first complete online home loan platform.

The platform promises customers home loan approval in 22 minutes, rather than weeks.

Investment and Trade Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith said the Investment Attraction Agency’s economic investment fund had offered the venture a $900,000 grant, without which the jobs and investment might have gone interstate.

He also used the deal to attack the big banks, who have been waging a campaign against the State Government following its Budget announcement of a major banks levy.

The levy is now the subject of a Parliamentary stand-off between the Government and the Upper House, where the Liberals and some crossbenchers have combined to reject the Government’s budget measures bill.

Hamilton-Smith said the Tic: Toc product was part of a competitive home loans sector being pushed by smaller banks, credit unions and “smart start-ups”.

In contrast to the major banks who he said had “signalled through the current campaign that they don’t want to invest in SA”, Tic: Toc and Bendigo “certainly see SA as a pretty good place to invest”.

In fact, the Minister insisted that in contrast to the “negative messaging coming out of the big four banks”, the Investment Attraction Agency had been flooded by inquiries from interstate and overseas financial, energy and renewables companies, who had been buoyed by last week’s announcements that the British Liberty Group would take over Arrium, and that Elon Musk’s Tesla would build the world’s biggest battery facility in the state’s mid north.

“Since the Elon Musk announcement the phones haven’t stopped ringing at Investment Attraction SA,” he said.

He said today’s announcement would create management and operations jobs at Tic: Toc and Bendigo’s Adelaide offices, with the investment to result in a $209 million contribution to GSP by 2025-26.

“This is a case of jobs and migration from other states to SA,” he said. “Tic: Toc and Bendigo Adelaide Bank are proving the big four banks have it wrong when they talk down SA.”

Tic: Toc is an Adelaide-based company, which promises that its online loans product will digitise the whole loan application process.

Founder and CEO Anthony Baum said that “as a proud South Australian, I find it satisfying to launch and grow a major national fintech company in Adelaide”.

“The Australian market was ready for a fully digital home loan,” he said.

“Australia has one of the highest take up rates of online banking in the world. The on-demand economy has shifted customer expectations when it comes to personal finance, but home loans have been left behind.”

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